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The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. It derives its energy mainly from nuclear fusion in its core, converting mass to energy as protons are combined to form helium. This energy is transported to the sun's surface then released into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.

In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.

Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field (gravitational, electric or magnetic), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature.

Mass and energy are closely related. Due to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary (called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy, and any additional energy (of any form) acquired by the object above that rest energy will increase the object's total mass just as it increases its total energy. For example, after heating an object, its increase in energy could be measured as a small increase in mass, with a sensitive enough scale.

Living organisms require energy to stay alive, such as the energy humans get from food. Human civilization requires energy to function, which it gets from energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, or renewable energy. The processes of Earth's climate and ecosystem are driven by the radiant energy Earth receives from the Sun and the geothermal energy contained within the earth. (Full article...)

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The Texas Oil Boom, was a period of dramatic change and economic growth in U.S. State of Texas during the early 20th century that began with the discovery of a large petroleum reserve near Beaumont, Texas. The find was unprecedented in its size and ushered in an age of rapid regional development and industrialization that has few parallels in U.S. history. Texas quickly became one of the leading oil producing states in the U.S., along with Oklahoma and California; soon the nation overtook the Russian Empire as the top producer of petroleum.

The major petroleum strikes that began the rapid growth in petroleum exploration and speculation occurred in Southeast Texas, but soon reserves were found across Texas and wells were constructed in North Texas, East Texas, and the Permian Basin in West Texas. By 1940 Texas had come to dominate U.S. production. Some historians even define the beginning of the world's Oil Age as the beginning of this era in Texas.

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Photo credit: United States Department of Energy
The fireball created as energy is released in a nuclear explosion.

Did you know?

  • Despite declines in production in recent years, Victoria still produces almost 20% of Australia's crude oil?
  • 4.26 million tonnes of the sun are converted to energy every second by nuclear fusion?

Selected biography

James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish mathematician and theoretical physicist. His most significant achievement was formulating a set of equations – eponymously named Maxwell's equations – that for the first time expressed the basic laws of electricity and magnetism in a unified fashion. Maxwell's contributions to physics are considered by many to be of the same magnitude as those of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Maxwell studied natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and mental philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, before graduating in mathematics at the University of Cambridge, where he would conduct much of his career. He built on Michael Faraday's work on magnetic induction, using elements of geometry and algebra to demonstrate that electric and magnetic fields travel through space, in the form of waves, and at the constant speed of light. Finally, in 1861, Maxwell proposed that light consisted of undulations in the same medium that is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena. In the same year he was elected to the Royal Society.

In 1864, Maxwell presented what are now known as Maxwell's equations to the Royal Society. These collectively describe the behaviour of both the electric and magnetic fields, as well as their interactions with matter.

In the news

14 January 2021 – Nuclear program of Iran
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has informed them that it has begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal, another violation in kind in response to Western violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The IAEA says that Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, but still possesses less than it had before the deal was signed. (The Independent)
1 January 2021 – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Nuclear program of Iran
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has notified it of its intention to enrich uranium to 20% purity, in accordance with a law recently passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly. Iran did not specify when this enrichment would begin. The December 2020 bill, adopted after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, instructs the government to increase uranium enrichment if sanctions against Iran are not eased within two months. (France24) (BBC)
29 December 2020 – 2020 Petrinja earthquake
The Krško Nuclear Power Plant in neighboring Slovenia, which produces around 20 percent of the country's electricity, is shut down as a precaution. Preventive inspections at the plant are ongoing. (AFP via NDTV) (IAEA)
18 December 2020 – 2020 United States federal government data breach
The Department of Energy confirms that it has been breached along with other federal government agencies, but says that the country's nuclear weapons arsenal has not been compromised. The mass data breach is now considered the worst ever cyberattack on the U.S. government. (BBC)


  • "For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy." – Richard Feynman
  • "The energy produced by breaking down the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformations of these atoms is taking moonshine." – Ernest Rutherford
  • "If you take a bale of hay and tie it to the tail of a mule and then strike a match and set the bale of hay on fire, and if you then compare the energy expended shortly thereafter by the mule with the energy expended by yourself in the striking of the match, you will understand the concept of amplification." – William Shockley
  • "It is easier to split an atom than to break a prejudice." – Albert Einstein

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